Way back at the start of the Tay salmon fishing season, First Minister Alec Salmond announced that he was to hold an enquiry into the management of Wild Fisheries in Scotland.
He went on to appoint Mr Andrew Thin who had recently retired from the position of head of Scottish Natural Heritage to head this enquiry and although Mr Thin made no bones about the fact that his knowledge of the subject was very sparse he has thrown himself headlong into a series of “Round Table Meetings” throughout the land as well as inviting written submission from the public.
Having now held over 50 such meetings from the Shetlands to the Tweed he arrived last Tuesday in Montrose and although places are much sought after I was indeed surprised and honoured to receive an invitation to attend. I found Mr Thin a receptive chairman and I was astounded at the depth of his knowledge gained in such a short time. The discussion covered many areas of management from the new setup expected at local level with the possibility of Fisheries Boards and Trusts being past into history in favour of a “committee” which would be appointed by a government based national organisation to the protection of all fish species like pike and carp, something we seldom hear in our area of the north east.
The possibility of Rod Licences came up and there seems to be a big split in the feelings in this regard, but we of course must remember that this is consultation and we must wait for his report which is expected in the autumn.
I left the meeting refreshed and content that we had a person conducting this enquiry in which I could trust and I feel that he may bring a new “Spring” to our year.
Locally we continue to see good runs of sea trout coming into the South Esk and speaking to Mr George Pullar of Usan Fisheries he said that they were returning large numbers from their nets into the sea as per the compensation agreement with the Esk Salmon Fisheries Board. Sea Trout have also been the mainstay of the fish entering the North Esk where the absence of Grilse is causing some worry. Salmon runs have been poor but local Lobster fishermen have seem large shoals of salmon lying well off the coast between Stonehaven and Montrose in the last week.
Trout fishing on local lochs is becoming quite difficult as water temperatures rise and in the case of Rescobie where I fished on Friday evening and found the weed position very disappointing and the areas where fly fishing was somewhat limited.
Tight Lines, Bill Balfour.